Richard Creagh

Creagh, Richard, Archbishop of Armagh, was born in Limerick about 1525. Having an earnest desire to enter the Church, he early abandoned the business to which he was apprenticed, crossed over to Belgium, and entered on a course of theology at Louvain. After being ordained, he returned to Limerick about 1555, burning with zeal to spread religion. His success in the instruction of youth, and his high reputation for learning, attracted the attention of the Nuncio, David Wolfe, who arrived in Limerick in August 1560, specially charged with the duty of providing for the vacant sees. The Nuncio commanded him to proceed to Rome, where he arrived in January 1563, and on St. Patrick's Day 1564, he was consecrated Archbishop of Armagh by Pius IV. In July he set out homewards, but was wrecked on the French coast, and did not reach his diocese until far on in the winter. In the act of celebrating mass, he was arrested by agents of the Government, sent to London, and committed to the Tower. After a confinement of several months, he managed to escape to Belgium, whence he proceeded to Spain, returning to his diocese in August 1566. Shane O'Neill was then in the height of his power, and the Archbishop preached before him and Hugh O'Donnell in the Cathedral at Armagh. He was again taken prisoner in Connaught, whither he had retired, and although, upon trial in Dublin, acquitted of any crime, he was retained in prison. Once more he escaped; but a considerable reward having been offered for his apprehension, he was retaken by the retainers of Gerald, Earl of Kildare. In 1567 he was sent over to London, and committed to the Tower, where after an imprisonment of eighteen years, borne with fortitude and resignation, he died in 1585. He wrote two works in Latin, one on the Origin of the Irish Language, the other, Controversies of Faith, besides a Catechism in Irish.


74. Catholic Faith in Ireland, Memorials of those who Suffered for: Myles O'Reilly. London, 1868.